Wednesday, March 14, 2018

How Insomnia Affects Your Hearing

We all know that sleep is crucial to our physical health and mental wellbeing, giving body and mind the chance to rest and recharge. And we all know how it feels when you don’t get a good night’s rest – sluggish, exhausted, and just out of it. Those with insomnia may feel this every day—and face a higher risk of developing side effects like depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. Insomnia can also be detrimental to your hearing health, leading to hearing loss and worsening tinnitus symptoms.
Poor cardiovascular health
Perhaps the biggest link between lack of sleep and diminished hearing is the effect of insomnia on the cardiovascular system. Insufficient sleep is known to cause poor blood circulation throughout the body, including your ears. Since the tiny hair cells in the ear that detect sound waves and translate them to the brain depend on strong blood flow to function properly, any cardiovascular issues can damage these fragile cells and cause hearing loss.
Connection to sleep apnea
Another factor could be sleep apnea. About 43 percent of people with insomnia also have sleep apnea, which causes patients breathing issues that often wake them up repeatedly throughout the night. Since studies have revealed that people with sleep apnea often have larger amounts of plaque in their blood vessels, the condition might further constrict blood flow to the hair cells and damage hearing.
Effects on tinnitus sufferers
Hearing loss isn’t the only way insomnia can affect your hearing health—it can also worsen the symptoms of tinnitus, or the phantom ringing, buzzing, humming, or whistling some people experience. One study found that insomnia can have a negative effect on those with tinnitus, increasing the perceived severity of tinnitus, decreasing their tolerance of the condition, and worsening its functional and emotional toll. It can often be a vicious cycle, as focusing on the tinnitus can make it difficult to fall asleep, and lack of sleep makes tinnitus seem much worse.
Just as with hearing loss, the longer you put off seeking treatment for insomnia, the more drastic its effects can be.  That’s why it’s important to talk to a doctor about your insomnia and what you can do to get a better night’s sleep. And if you already have hearing loss or tinnitus, schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional to find the best course of treatment.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Heart Health and Your Hearing

Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, refers collectively to a number of conditions that cause narrowed or blocked blood vessels and contribute to heart attacks, chest pain, or stroke. It is responsible for about 610,000 deaths in the US and causes around 735,000 people in the country to suffer heart attacks each year. Despite these staggering numbers, many instances of heart disease could be prevented through a healthier lifestyle.
Since February is American Heart Month, it’s a good idea to think about what you can do to minimize your risk of developing heart disease, and to identify any potential risk factors. One surprising way to protect your heart is to pay attention to your hearing.

Hearing loss and heart disease
The link between hearing loss and heart disease is well established. Research from Harvard University found that hearing loss occurs 54 percent more often in people with heart disease, compared to the general population. Hearing loss is also a known comorbidity of hearing loss, with the two conditions often occurring simultaneously.
The reason is that the tiny hair cells in the inner ear responsible for conducting sound to the brain are especially vulnerable to poor blood flow resulting from narrowed blood vessels. If these cells fail to get sufficient oxygen through the blood, they can be damaged irreparably and leave you with diminished hearing. Given the effects of poor blood circulation on hearing, any detected hearing loss could be a warning sign of a larger issue with your cardiovascular system.

Keeping your heart healthy
While heart disease can lead to hearing loss, maintaining a healthy heart can reduce your risk. Many of the things you can do to take care of your heart will also help protect your hearing:
  • Avoid smoking: Since smoking is known to be harmful to your heart and your inner ears, quitting the habit and avoiding secondhand smoke can help reduce the risk for both heart disease and hearing loss.
  • Exercise: An active lifestyle is another way protect both systems. Whether you prefer walking, jogging, swimming, or other physical activity, exercising for 20-30 minutes per day, four or five days a week, can contribute to a healthy heart and healthy hearing.
  • Eat well: Also important is proper nutrition. A heart-healthy diet should include plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, while avoiding foods with high amounts of saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium.
Very few health conditions occur in a vacuum—what happens to one system can lead to problems in another part of the body. If you already have hearing loss, it’s important to speak to your healthcare professional about whether it indicates heart disease as well. And if you suspect you have hearing loss, its connection to your heart health should be reason enough to get your hearing tested.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Hearing aids?

Hearing aids are just aid.  Success with hearing aids depends greatly on the attitude of the wearer.  Those pushed into wearing them, tend to fail our flounder.  Family support is critical to a good fitting and patience is must.  Expect to take a few months to totally get used to wearing hearing aids on a regualar basis.  If you you're not happy with, make the audiologist or dispenser that fitted them, make the right for you.